This is a response to the general topic of the “Traveler Value Index”.
I’ve been in the market research business for over 30 years. The key to understanding how much importance to place on results is understanding:
1.) Who is being asked, and
2.) What are they being asked
My view is that:
1.) WHO IS BEING ASKED? … did I miss something? It is not clear who is in the data set. One indication of shaky research is a lack of clarity on this point. The first page should spell out EXACTLY who we are hearing from. There are a lot of people in this study, yes. But, as far as we know, 90% of them may be people who only stay in hotels. My guess is that ‘Hotel Only’ results would look different than ‘Airbnb Only’ results. (They also don’t say how many responses are in reference to Airline travel, the most despised segment of the travel industry. Why are those planners even included in this?) Again, if we don’t know who is answsering, how do we know how to weigh those answers?
I don’t mean to get to esoteric on this, but they don’t break down the answers from Brazil or Mexico or South Africa, etc. Is there a big difference? We do not know. My guess is that if every country’s responses were somewhat similar, they would have said “there was no discernable difference among countries”.
2.) WHAT IS BEING ASKED? … the wording of the questions is not helpful. It is much too generic. To get to actionable information on a specific topic, the question needs to probe. For example, “If you had the choice between two identical listings but one offered ‘sustainable options’, how much more would you pay?” Something like that.
I think the ‘non-refundable’ question is very, very hard to research. There are so many considerations, such as a supply and demand determination. I would never book a non-refundable room at the Dumpster Inn a month in advance. However, I WOULD book a non-refundable place in a highly desirable area that required me to do that or lose out. Our condo is generally rented six months to a year ahead of time.
We have strict cancellation, although people still can get their money back a few months ahead of time. Because our property is on Maui, a guest also has to plan flights and possibly their vacation plans. It is not practical to offer ‘totally refundable’. This might be unusual, but my point is that “Do you want 100% refundable?" as asked is dead-end research. That question requires some serious follow-up.
I do appreciate that they are doing surveys, I just wish they would do some that would really enlighten us. My opinion is that this was a ‘feel good’ survey. It feels good to Expedia to say “We asked”.
I would love to get in a room with them and have them document to me how much this survey helps owners.